Degrees Of Energy And Enthusiasm

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Light rain remained in the overcast clouds until the last hour of the very successful Tiptoe May Fayre which we visited this much cooler afternoon.

When we arrived, hopeful owners were taking up positions in the judging ring for the last few pooch prizes.

The Punch and Judy show was a great hit with young and old. Glee and excitement built up quickly. Children’s faces registered their emotions; I had the sense that the older members of the audience may have been reliving their own earlier years. Despite being attached to a leash in one little girl’s hands, her dog studiously ignored the performance. For some, it was difficult to concentrate on both ice cream and the entertainment. One woman had been left holding the candy floss. I was not the only photographer.

The dog agility contest caused canine chaos, from which the careful orchestrator conjured a semblance of order. The children understood what was expected of them and their pets. The pets, however, approached the exercise of negotiating the obstacles with varying degrees of energy and enthusiasm.

This evening we dined on a second sitting of Mr Chan’s Hordle Chinese Take Away fare, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo 2017.

 

Free Ice Creams

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We spent a sweltering morning on garden tasks. Jackie prepared an area in the West Bed from which Aaron had removed an ancient, unproductive, rose yesterday for a replacement yet to be acquired. I occupied myself dead-heading and clearing up.

This afternoon we drove into the forest. Jackie did her best to avoid the bank holiday visitors, many of whom were beginning their slow trek home.

Landscape 1Landscape 2Landscape 3

We found ourselves at Thorney Hill where the views down the slopes were uninterrupted; the bracken is beginning to adopt its autumn colouring;

Blackberries

and blackberries sprawled over the hedgerows.

Cyclist

The occasional car, and one sole cyclist occupied Braggers Lane,

Horses 1Horses 2

further along which we stopped to observe horses in a paddock. Some wore fly masks.

Shadows

The fencing cast criss-crossed shadows.

As we were about to leave, Heather and her companion drove up. Despite her Scots accent, this delightful woman owned one of the horses. Another belonged to her friend. Heather was enjoying an ice-cream. She offered us each a Magnum, for which we were suitably grateful.

Heather's horseHeather and horses 1Heather and horses 2

The two horses were eager to be tackled up for a ride. Their noses appeared over the barred gate, and I do believe that, as they were petted, they sampled Heather’s ice-cream cone.

Once my driver had consumed her choc ice on a stick, we waved farewell and continued on our way.

Ponies 1

Ponies at Furze Hill cropped the grass

Ponies at pool 1Pony and foal at pool

beside a stream

Foal at pool 2Foal at pool 1Foal at pool 3

into which one of this year’s foals ventured

Foal at pool 4

for a paddle while it chomped on blackberries.

Pony 1

Possibly it was this creature’s parent that pounded down the slope and across the pool to the far end; slaked its thirst, then clambered past me to the road. I thought it best to move out of the way. It looked quite heavy.

I had made my way down to the pebbly bed of the stream, so, when a passing cyclist called to her companion to look at the baby down there, it took me a second or two to realise she was referring to the young pony.

After this we enjoyed a drink in the Foresters Arms at Frogham, and returned home.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wonderful beef in red wine; creamy mashed potato; and crunchy carrots, runner beans, and broccoli. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie.

Memo To Self

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Memo to self:

‘Never shop at Tesco’s late on a Friday morning. Remember. Because of the congestion, you will never be able to move faster than a plod. Especially when you have driven a short distance having cleared ice from the car windows, you will find that you are wearing too many layers for the oppressive atmosphere. The trolley could pass as a dodgem car. Other drivers will mostly be too old or infirm to be granted a licence; except, that is, for the toddler in the store-supplied pedal vehicle towing his Grandma’s basket on wheels. Facing an oncoming loader stacked with products for filling shelves will be like attempting to avoid an out of control container vehicle. Deft footwork will be required to avoid lasting bruises.

Especially if you are tagging along in a junior mate’s capacity, and you are unfamiliar with the layout you will not feel you are much use. When dispatched to collect specific items, at first you will need to find the relevant aisle. Even if you then find the right brand, you will probably bring the wrong size or the wrong amount back to the Caterer in Chief, and have to retrace your steps to return and replace the item. That is after you have managed to find your lady with her trolley in any one of the countless number of avenues of shelves.’

In case anyone thinks I exaggerate, when faced with an oncoming wheeled tower with apparently no driver, I, at one point, had to choose which elderly woman’s loaded trolley to treat as a bumping car. Fortunately, there was a staff member pushing the container, around which she peered, and applied her brakes. At that moment the toddler pedalled around the corner. The employee  had the good humour to be amused when I asked if her employers had trained her on the dodgems.

This afternoon I scanned another batch of negatives from May 1986. Some of these have appeared in earlier posts, but were made from prints of which I thought I had lost the negatives.

I believe this first group was taken at Tooting Common, where Sam and Louisa enjoyed climbing frames, sandwiches, and ice creams. Would gravel be permitted under these structures in our safety-conscious era today, I wonder? I am not sure whether the bicycle was Louisa’s birthday present.

Clematis montana 5.86

Our first clematis Montana was grown at our home in Gracedale Road,

Sam and Louisa 5.86

barefoot on the concrete back steps of which Sam, admired by his sister, undertakes an important piece of carpentry.

Derrick 5.86

Perhaps Jessica took this photograph of me at a party somewhere.

This evening we dined at Lymington’s Lal Quilla, where we received the usual friendly and efficient service with first class food. My main meal was prawn Ceylon; Jackie’s was chicken bhuna; and we shared Kashmira pilau rice, garlic naan, and sag bahji. We both drank Kingfisher.

Diverted From The Task In Hand

A stiff breeze set our flaming foliage flickering in the strong morning sunlight casting shifting shadows. As I gently ambled around, I pulled the calf of my dodgy leg. Following the last two stormy days, I now have another excuse for avoiding weeding. Beech leaves 1Beech leaves 2

The beech is now fully plumed;

Maple 1Japanes maple 2

as are the Japanese maples;

Prunus pissardi 1Prunus pissardi 2

and the prunus pissardi

Prunus pissardi 3

to which a few stubborn cherries cling, reflecting glints of light.

Heuchera

Only a few minutes after I discovered that my shot of a hot heuchera was out of focus, the sun had moved on to a slightly cooler one. (please Mr. WordPress, you should know by now that when I type ‘heuchera’ I don’t mean ‘heaters’).

Starling

Later there were more clouds and less sun. I sat outside for a while, which was rather disappointing for the starlings who would fly towards their nest behind our kitchen fascia board, and, noticing my presence, do a mid-air about-turn and wait patiently on one tree or another wondering what to do next.

Here are three of the prints from 1985 that I scanned today:

Louisa 1985

Lousia’s attention wandered a bit in this one.

Jessica and I and our children spent several holidays at Instow with her brother Henry, sister-in-law Judith and their two children Lucy and Nick. On an early one of these, that same year, we drove somewhere in Devon, where Jessica’s cousin was a vet. I don’t remember the name of the village where we enjoyed a summer fete, but I did record the event at which

Sam 1985

Sam was so transfixed by a Punch and Judy show, that his attention was also diverted, from his apple.

Matthew 5.85

At Louisa’s third birthday party at Gracedale Road, Matthew enjoyed amusing the children.

This evening I tucked into the scrumptious cottage pie that Jackie had left me, adding green beans and cauliflower.

Colour Slides From The Sixties

Despite the fact that dizziness, especially when coughing, is still a difficulty, I feel a great deal better today.

Mark Williams The LinkNever before have I been so acquainted with daytime television. Sometimes, when Jackie is watching TV, I am doing something else in my chair in the corner of the long sitting room, where the screen is not in view, and I quite like listening to it. Today, I joined her on the sofa. ‘The Link’ is a quiz game that I have often heard, but never seen the quizmaster, whose accent always puzzled me because I couldn’t place it, other than vaguely in the West Midlands.Father-Brown-Season-2

Imagine my surprise when I realised that the programme host was Mark Williams who plays Father Brown which we had just watched. This narrowed down the accent, for Williams was born in Bromsgrove in Worcestershire.

This afternoon I rescanned a few more colour slides from the 1960s. After Vivien’s death in September 1965, Michael and I had spent that Christmas with my family in 18 Bernard Gardens, to which we had moved on the night she died. After Christmas, as I did every weekend for six months, I took our son to visit his maternal grandparents in Sidcup. This was a complicated journey on public transport from Wimbledon, with the pushchair and all the other paraphernalia required for a small child.Michael and swans 12.65

That particular December the weather was freezing and he had to be wrapped up well to see the magic of swans walking on ice.

The following Christmas I gave my mother a calendar, each month of which was illustrated by a suitable photograph. This was the one chosen for December. Now, of course, this is not particularly unusual, because there are number of computer applications, none of which I know how to use, which will help do the job. Both Louisa and Sam have produced such welcome presents. What I did in 1967 was to have a processing shop make the 7” x 5” prints, which I stuck to hand drawn pages for each month.Michael 3.66

By March 1966, now almost two, Michael was well able to manage his own ice-cream. I have no idea why he needed the plaster on his chin, but I don’t expect it was anything too serious.

The following month I met Jackie and took a series of photographs of her on Wimbledon Common, a couple of which have been posted before.Jackie 4.66 3

This is one more.

Jackie and Michael 7.66 2

By July, she and Michael were beginning to bond. I liked the soft natural colours produced by the Fujifilm of the time.

Shopping and cooking have not been happening for some days, but, especially as my appetite is returning, it is fortunate that our fridge and freezer are reasonably well stocked. Salad from the former adorned a meaty pizza for our evening meal.

Bags

I began the day with a wander round the garden in the morning light. Jackie has been steadily working away at the creation of her open air gardener’s shed. This is what it looks like at the moment:Jackie's work areaJackie beneath the weeping birch
As she walked under the weeping birch she came alongside the growing log pile that I will eventually saw up for the wood burning stove.
We have now reached the stage where we have clear views all across the garden.View from Castle benchView from concrete areaView from deckingView from patio View from Wisteria arbourI amused myself by taking a photograph from each of our five seating areas. What you can see depends on the direction your chair is facing, but I satisfied myself with just one in each case. Perhaps I will make a set in the evening light quite soon.
Before driving me to New Milton for the London train, Jackie took us to Ferndene Farm Shop where we bought three large bags of Violet Farm Compost, and deposited them at home.
On the station a couple were waiting for the arrival of our train, ten minutes late, because they had left their bags on it and were hoping to find them. Presumably they had been travelling from London and trusted that their belongings would be transported back after having reached its destination. Another unfortunate young man boarded the train at Winchester, dashed back to the door as the closing beeps were sounding, jumped off, and didn’t make it back. His friends said he had left one of his bags on the platform.
The buddleia has been described as the railway plant.Buddleia from train This is because our lines are riddled with it, as seen through the window on the approach to Basingstoke.
The train had lost another ten minutes by the time we reached Waterloo, just allowing me River Thames and Houses of ParliamentChildren with ice creamsto take my usual walk to Carol’s, along the side of the Thames where the sun glinted on the wavelets, and, in the shade of the embankment wall, the produce of ice cream vendors was being avidly devoured.
After the usual pleasantly stimulating conversation with my friend, I took the customary transport back to New Milton, where my carriage awaited. Jackie drove me home and fed me on a luscious liver casserole, with crisp vegetables and boiled potatoes. She tells me that different stages of the cooking were interspersed with gardening activities, but there was in my meal no trace of privet or any other plant except for the bay leaf which was there by design.